This is a bit of a heavy topic for a Saturday night- but after having this blog sit in my drafts for awhile- I have decided to finally hit publish and share one of my ‘Me Too’ experiences with you.
When the Me Too movement started to heat up, after reading yet another story of a man using disgusting means to lure and sexually harass women- I took to my personal Twitter account to tweet a small thread about my own experience that took place approximately 16 years ago.
Like the majority of the stories: It is about a man who was beyond inappropriate and wouldn’t take a hint.
These types of predatory men aren’t only a Hollywood problem.
These types of situations can happen anywhere and when you least expect it.
I did a lot of babysitting and even worked as a nanny in my late teens- early twenties. Between jobs, I ended up stepping in for a family whose regular babysitter wasn’t able to work on a few days. They were a nice family, though from what I understood- down on their luck- so I accepted the request to fill in temporarily.
They lived in a small apartment building, one which only housed a few units.
The kids were really sweet. We played Barbie’s, read books and of course they loved to play dress up and listen to music- One day, we were having fun dancing in the living room to burn up some energy. While I ran to use the restroom- the kids cranked the music a bit too high which prompted a neighbor to drop by- pounding on the door.
I answered it and this middle-aged man was standing there. He introduced himself as the guy who lived above the apartment and said that while he was the only other person home at the moment- if we could keep the music down as it was violating the building rules.
Whoops. Sorry dude.
I felt bad at first- but then I noticed he was leering at me.
He said he had never seen me around the building before, I politely responded that I was just a temporary sitter and tried to close the door so I could get back to the kids.
He stopped me by pushing the door open and said:
“You know- why don’t you leave the door open- come up to my place and we will have a beer. The kids will be okay.”
“No Thank You”
“No- It’s fine- My wife isn’t home.”
He gave me this ‘if you know what I mean’ look.
My alarm bells started going off.
I told him firmly that I was not interested.
He persisted- his hand still pressing the door so I couldn’t close it- and when he wasn’t making comments like “We don’t get girls as pretty as you around here that often!” (as he stared at my chest) he kept volunteering ‘reasons’ as to why I should take him up on his offer.
I knocked all his excuses out of the park as I tried to get him to move his hand from the door so I could close it.
I told him that I do not drink during the day- especially before noon- nor while I was in charge of other peoples children and that I was not setting foot in his apartment for what ever reason. I wasn’t interested at all. (As my monologue continued- I was becoming increasingly bitchy about it -which made him move his hand from the door- I am assuming he was surprised I went from polite to bitchy in seconds)
I shut the door in his face and locked it- like past experiences with interested men- I thought the situation was handled and he got the hint.
That wasn’t the case.
He was back an hour later knocking on the door telling me to open up.
I could see him through the peep hole and there was NO way I was opening that door.
He had actually STRIPPED down to his boxers and had TWO bottles of beer in hand!!
(Ew! Ew! Ew! Like this was going to work?!)
At first he tried to be nice about it- telling me through the door that he had brought me a beer to be ‘neighborly’ (even though I had completely rejected it earlier!) He said through the door that he did it all the time for the babysitters and the parents would be okay with it.
(Who the fuck would be okay with that? And WHY the hell was he now not wearing anything but boxers????!! It was gross. He was gross. The whole situation was gross.)
I told him through the door to leave- I wasn’t interested.
That is when he got mad– called me names.
Said I was a snob, an ungrateful bitch and went on a tirade about how I wouldn’t accept his ‘generous hospitality’ – and of course the real shocker: nothing would happen that I ‘didn’t want’ to happen.
I am sorry WHAT did you say?
I didn’t want him there to begin with!!!
Wasn’t I clear the first several times that I had said no?
I didn’t mince words. I told him that he’d better fuck off because my hand was on the phone ready to call the police if he didn’t leave me alone.
He thankfully took his beer, his nasty attitude and left… but I was quite shaken up. The door of that apartment was really flimsy and the way he was acting- I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had burst through it. The kids didn’t seem to be phased by any of it. The oldest one volunteered the information that their parents didn’t like the guy much either. I moved some chairs in front of the door (told the kids it was a game) and let them know that we wouldn’t have outdoor playtime, making up an excuse- I wasn’t leaving that apartment until I knew there were other adults around.
I remember being completely stunned. I have had my fair share of aggressive males hit on me- but this was beyond anything else that I had ever encountered by that point in my life.
I felt trapped in that apartment.
When the mother arrived home- thankfully early that day- I relayed the incident to her and she was shocked. I also passed on the fact that he claims he does this with other babysitters… and ‘they’ take him up on the offer… but whether or not that was true or him just trying to make me trust him… I had no idea. I just knew that I wasn’t falling for that crap. I also had to let her know I would no longer be able to babysit for her- that they were a nice family- and it had nothing to do with them- but I refused to ever set foot near that building again.
His behavior was abhorrent and his reaction to my rejection was….not….NORMAL.
This is just ONE of my stories.
How sad is that? That I have more then one to tell.
Sexual Harassment was and is still extremely common place.
It shouldn’t be.
It wasn’t ME.
It wasn’t my face.
It wasn’t my clothes.
I did absolutely nothing to flirt (ugh) or lead him on.
It was the fact I was a female and HE wasn’t raised properly to understand that his behavior was inappropriate and that when a female says NO and isn’t interested- that it means NO!
Why is this so hard for some people to understand?
This man clearly wanted to get his jollies off with a babysitter who’d buy into his bullshit- and it was very clear that he was an adulterer who seemed to think he was the shit with the ladies.
So you see- this isn’t a Liberal versus Conservative issue.
This isn’t a Hollywood issue.
This is a much bigger issue:
Sexual Harassment is a Human issue.
(And it is something that we are going to work hard to correct and change for a better and brighter future- We are silent no more)
Kudos to all the woman AND men who are speaking up, sharing their stories (No matter how uncomfortable they are) and working for change.
I have two daughters- and the thought of them being exposed to any of what I have witnessed and experienced is enough to make me want to keep them in a bubble… however I can’t do that.
I have and will continue to teach them the difference between right and wrong, and that it is okay to be strong and stand up when someone says or does something that makes you uncomfortable.
My final thought for this post is pretty basic but apparently some don’t understand it:
When we say NO- We damn well mean it!